Privacy watchdog steps up scam prevention efforts with new hotline

Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog launched on Tuesday a fraud prevention hotline to handle inquiries or complaints from the public in relation to suspected data fraud cases.

This came as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data received 386 enquiries and 17 complaints about the use of personal data for fraudulent purposes, including the use of phishing calls, emails or text messages by swindlers who impersonated officers of different organizations.

The office said a number of cases have seen fraudsters trying to obtain personal information by impersonating officers of the Centre for Health Protection, law enforcement officers of the Mainland and employees of a courier company.

Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung Lai-ling said the swindlers may employ many different tricks with the aim of obtaining the personal data of members of the public for gain or perpetration of fraud.

“Members of the public should think twice and avoid disclosing any personal data arbitrarily, and should consider contacting relevant departments or organizations to verify the authenticity of the calls in order to safeguard their personal data and property,” she said.

Starting today, people can report suspected fraud cases by calling the new “Personal Data Fraud Prevention Hotline” at 3423-6611.

Meanwhile, the office reminded that, in cases of identity thefts involving the commission of criminal offenses, members of the public should also report the case to the Police.